Martha Stewart's Simple Trick for the Best Roasted Asparagus

It’s the easiest way to get perfectly cooked asparagus on the table in a hurry.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images

In 2004, I came across a simple roasted asparagus recipe in Martha Stewart Living. The recipe couldn't have been easier, but it called for cooking asparagus at an unusually high heat: 450°F. I’d blanched asparagus, chopped it and thrown it on pizzas, and puréed it for soup, but had never roasted it. Once I tried Martha's method, though, I was hooked.

Here’s an insider secret: People (like me) who cook for a living usually come home too tired to cook. In private, my chef friends admit to occasionally falling on the couch with a bag of chips after a long day. If we have any strength left, we know that the answer to food, fast, lies in a high-heat cooking method, to sear or roast a dish in a snap. Martha's roasted asparagus recipe is proof of that.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

How To Make Martha Stewart's Roasted Asparagus

To make Martha Stewart's asparagus, snap off the tough ends of two bunches (about one and a half pounds) of asparagus and place the spears on a large, rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, toss to coat, then sprinkle with coarse salt, pepper, and a quarter cup of shredded Parmesan. Roast for 15 minutes in a 450°F oven until the cheese is melted and golden. That’s it!

This recipe is deceptively simple, but the genius is in the heat. If you typically roast vegetables at a lower temperature, be sure to crank the oven to 450°F—that's not a typo! The hot air of the oven and the hot metal of the pan will sear in the juiciness and bring out the sweetness of the stalks.

A sprinkle of Parmesan adds umami and salt, giving the dish more complexity than you might expect. Another benefit of the high heat is that the finely grated Parmesan melts and cooks to a golden crisp. Those crispy bits and the rich, cheesy-tasting fat that coats the asparagus add so much flavor with so little effort.

How To Choose Asparagus

If you’ve ever had overcooked or stringy asparagus, you could be forgiven for disliking the vegetable. Asparagus is one of the most fragile vegetables, losing much of its natural sweetness and moisture within a day or two of harvest. When you see wrinkled stalks, that is a red flag, as the fibrousness will be more pronounced after cooking. Choose plump-looking bunches for the best flavor.

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